New league structure offers South Devon fresh start under 19-year-old captain
SOUTH Devon have made a changes ahead of the new season as they aim to put two disappointing seasons behind them.
The Newton Abbot club - founder members of competition in 1972 - suffered a second successive relegation in the Tolchards Devon League last season and find themselves in the D Division West in 2018.
It is the lowest league level South Devon has ever played at. The changes are part of a package of measures to ensure they don’t want to say at for long.
The biggest adjustment comes behind the scenes with senior players Mark Andrews and Richard Beaumont heading-up a new senior cricket sub-committee, working with the team captains to deal with all cricket-related issues.
There is also a double change on the field with James Allen taking charge of the 1st XI and Matt Kitto taking over as 2nd XI skipper.
All-rounder Allen is only 19, not that Beaumont sees that as an issue.
“Along with his batting and bowling James has improved his tactical awareness over the last year or so and with our new cricket committee in place to take some of the pressure off it's the ideal time to have one eye on the future and put our trust in a young captain,” said South Devon’s new director of cricket.
Beaumont is confident there is enough know-how around to help Allen learn the ropes. This includes the return of player-coach and former Premier division all-rounder Dinesh Raheja.
League restructuring has placed the Newton Abbot club in the new D Division West with some interesting new opponents including the second strings of Torquay, Barton and Paignton.
“The new C and D Divisions will be fascinating with the entry of the Premier and A Division 2nd XIs.' said Beaumont.
“We' are looking forward to the challenge this throws up and in particular to the derbies against the Torbay clubs.”
He added: “The important thing for South Devon is to slowly but surely get back on the right track after a period of under-achievement and hopefully the fresh start of the new league system will be just what we need.”
South Devon have already started pre-season training with a session at the Devon Cricket Centre at the University of Exeter. More indoor sessions are booked for March as well as weekly sessions closer to home over the next couple of months.
South Devon are always on the look-out for new additions to their squad, particularly at present in the seam-bowling and wicket-keeping departments. Beaumont is encouraging any player interested in a new challenge at a forward-looking club to contact him on 07786638261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“We are constantly looking to improve the way we do things at both senior level and for our rebranded 'Newton Abbot' junior section,” said Beaumont.
“We now have five ECB-qualified coaches available to work mainly with the youth section on Friday evenings.
“Our main objective in the longer term is to give Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton it's rightful place on the local cricket map.
“Our ground and facilities at the Recreation Ground are improving all the time and we would invite any adult players or any interested young families to get in touch and see what we have to offer.”